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Extreme Materials

Areas of Focus:

  • Fast ion diffusion
  • Glasses at HT and HP
  • Melting and amorphisation
  • Nanoceramics and sintering
  • Radiation-hard semiconductors

The researchers in this stream study inorganic materials, which are interesting from a fundamental point of view as well as for applications under extreme conditions such as ultra-high temperatures, high pressure, and in hostile chemical environments.

A primary aim of this stream’s research is to understand how melting and freezing impacts on the structure and properties of materials. Container-less processing employing levitation laser-heating techniques prevents heterogeneous nucleation which is beneficial in extending the range of ceramics and glasses that can be fabricated. These include perfect or low entropy glasses that are likely to have mechanical and chemical properties superior to glasses made conventionally.

Applying high pressure and high temperature simultaneously allows materials to be studied under deep Earth conditions as well as the severe changes encountered in volcanic eruptions.

The same principles involved in fabricating under extreme conditions are being used to improve and tailor the properties of nano-structured materials so that they can sustain extreme thermal, chemical, and mechanical environments. This is being enabled through novel in situ characterisation methods capable of identifying new routes of synthesis. Likewise research on the atomic and electronic structure of coatings and surfaces of oxides, nitrides and carbides aims to generate the outstanding macroscopic properties needed for robust radiation-hard photovoltaic devices.

Staff operating in this research field are:

Team Leaders: Professor Neville Greaves; Dr Peter Holliman

Members:  Professor Andy Evans; Dr Florian Kargl;Dr Rudi Winter; Dr Martin Wilding; Dr Edwin Flikkema; Dr Mike Beckett; Professor Stuart Irvine

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